Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a meeting via video conference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence, outside Moscow, on March 31, 2021.

Alexei Druzhinin/The Associated Press

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday signed a law allowing him to potentially hold onto power until 2036, a move that formalizes constitutional changes endorsed in a vote last year.

The July 1 constitutional vote included a provision that reset Mr. Putin’s previous term limits, allowing him to run for president two more times. The change was rubber-stamped by the Kremlin-controlled legislature and the relevant law signed by Mr. Putin was posted Monday on an official portal of legal information.

The 68-year-old Russian President, who has been in power for more than two decades – longer than any other Kremlin leader since Soviet dictator Josef Stalin – said he would decide later whether to run again in 2024 when his current six-year term ends.

Story continues below advertisement

He has argued that resetting the term count was necessary to keep his lieutenants focused on their work instead of “darting their eyes in search for possible successors.”

The constitutional amendments also emphasized the primacy of Russian law over international norms, outlawed same-sex marriages and mentioned “a belief in God” as a core value. Nearly 78 per cent of voters approved the constitutional amendments during the balloting that lasted for a week and concluded on July 1. Turnout was 68 per cent.

After the vote, Russian lawmakers have methodically modified the national legislation, approving the relevant laws.

The opposition criticized the constitutional vote, arguing that it was tarnished by widespread reports of pressure on voters and other irregularities, as well as a lack of transparency and hurdles hindering independent monitoring.

In the months since the vote, Russia has imprisoned the country’s most prominent opposition figure, Alexey Navalny. The 44-year-old Mr. Navalny was arrested in January upon his return from Germany, where he spent five months recovering from a nerve-agent poisoning that he blames on the Kremlin. Russian authorities have rejected the accusation.

In February, Mr. Navalny was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison for violating the terms of his probation while convalescing in Germany. The sentence stems from a 2014 embezzlement conviction that Navalny has rejected as fabricated – and which the European Court of Human Rights has ruled to be unlawful.

His team says Mr. Navalny had lost a substantial amount of weight even before he started a hunger strike Wednesday to protest authorities’ failure to provide proper treatment for his back and leg pains.

Story continues below advertisement

Mr. Navalny complained about prison officials’ refusal to give him the proper medications and to allow his doctor to visit him. He also protested the hourly checks a guard makes on him at night, saying they amount to sleep deprivation.

In an Instagram post Monday, Mr. Navalny said that three of 15 people in his room at the penal colony were diagnosed with tuberculosis. He noted that he had a strong cough and a fever of 38.1 Celsius (100.6 Fahrenheit).

Later on Monday, the newspaper Izvestia carried a statement from the state penitentiary service saying Mr. Navalny was moved to the prison colony’s sanitary unit after a checkup found him having “signs of a respiratory illness, including a high fever.”

In an acerbic note, Mr. Navalny said he and other inmates studied a notice on tuberculosis prevention that underlined the importance of strengthening immunity with a balanced diet – advice that contrasted with a prison ration of “glue-like porridge and frozen potatoes.”

Our Morning Update and Evening Update newsletters are written by Globe editors, giving you a concise summary of the day’s most important headlines. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies